Women in ID

I am a female undergraduate considering a career in ID, and would like more information regarding the struggles that women face while breaking into the field. I know that ID is male-dominated–does this help or hurt my chances of getting a job? I often hear people say that employers look for talent and motivation, etc, not gender, but I imagine that is mostly optimistic encouragement, not necessarily reality. Comments? Advice?

it’s reality though, if you are talented i don’t see why being a woman could be an issue. I think it’s a plus.

I would say that if you can sketch and are talented you would have an advantage because you are a hot woman - which guys always want around them. With that said there is a glut of people going into ID compared to 8 years ago which has made the field saturated, which leaves lots of graduates out in the cold looking for another profession and in general brings down the pay scale for everyone. That’s the cold truth, I pity the recent graduate!

In many cases women IDers are more wanted by companies.

contact some women in the field and ask them about the challenges they face and for any advice they may have.

here’s one woman-owned firm for you to check out – http://www.everydaystudio.com

By all means, go for it if design is your calling. This field desperately needs more input from a female perspective, and I really don’t mean the tired stereotypical cushy-cushy, feel-good side of things. Your chances of success, however you define it, much depend on your eventual work environment - consulting office, corporate, manufacturing startup, and the particular work culture of the place. Industry overall is sadly still a bastion of misplaced male chauvinism and bravado (so are engineering offices), but I still think the barrier to women is more psychological (in their heads) than it really is at hiring time. If the position is a mutual fit, you will get the job. What happens after, though, may be a different story - for having seen it several times over my employee working years. Problem still is, too many men cannot stand working next to a smarter or more talented woman, let alone take anything resembling guidance from her. Obviously this is compounded if she is naturally self-confident or brash about her achievements. You learn to navigate this as a woman, but it’s still an extra hurdle.

This is true for most work fields today but, relatively speaking, is actuallly LESS of a problem in most ID settings than elsewhere. It gets even better in architectural or graphics/web offices.

Also, studies show women tend to be better entrepreneurs than men, consistently starting more original, better-operated and longer-lasting businesses, so if you ever decide this is your path, you are in good company.

There are many other careers far worse to women than ID, that is sure. If you feel you have something to add to developing this field and want to make your voice heard, forget the old myths - just go ahead and do your thing.

Good luck.

women are the desicion-makers in the majority of consumer purchases, most of Marketing I know is screaming for more female design.

Quite honestly, it’s a plus to be a women designer in the US. Most studios want to have their staff well represented- but is difficult, because there are so few women designers to hire.

It is a bit strange- go to Europe and it is much closer to 50-50.

no spec wrote; “women are the desicion-makers in the majority of consumer purchases, most of Marketing I know is screaming for more female design.”

…well, that’s because they are idiots…the notion that one sex or race or creed cannot design great products (or anything else) for another is insulting to the profession and gratuitous to the person…there are much more compelling reasons to hire a female designer…grow up.

Actually this is true ever large firm I know is currently looking to expand its design teams by adding female (go ahead and get offended mrd )designers. Though it is true we can design products for any one by removing ourselves and looking at the products through the eyes of the consumers, clients who manufacture products primaraly purchased by women are far more comfortable awarding work to a firm with a female viewpoint over one comprised of only male viewpoints.

This is a late response to the original post, but I am so infuriated by the response from “Mr. T” stating “I would say that if you can sketch and are talented you would have an advantage because you are a hot woman - which guys always want around them.”

This is one guy who obvously feels threatened by females in his traditionally male-dominated field. He needs to grow up and realize that ID is no longer a boys club, and unfortunately he will need to work harder to keep up with the new competition. I also think it is BS that he believes women will bring the pay scale down for everyone. Again, he has some insecurity issues going on.

I encourage any female who is considering a field in ID to not worry about the gender issue, in the long run it is talent and determination that will stand out when competing with someone else for a job. With the increasing number of women industrial designers, a lot more females will be the ones doing the hiring in the future. I doubt they will be seeking out “hot women” over someone else, regardless of gender, who is well qualified for the job. [/quote]

This is a late response to the original post, but I am so infuriated by the response from “Mr. T” stating “I would say that if you can sketch and are talented you would have an advantage because you are a hot woman - which guys always want around them.”

:laughing: Scorched Mr. T. You need to learn like myself that people bruise easier than peaches on this site.

And let me appologize to the original post on this thread, as this is going to be a little off topic, but still related:

You need to have thick skin to be in ID!!! People will criticize your thoughts and designs on a daily basis. If you can’t deal with it, design isn’t your bag. People don’t mean harm in critiqing your work, and if you can take it, your design will improve 10 fold every time. If you start taking things personally everytime someone looks at your drawing sideways, you’ll never make it.

I think it’s really ironic that this is a site whose members are composed of thick skinned, smart, creative people with a sense of humor (hopefully), and yet I see people get deeply and morally offended at almost any comment!!

People, we don’t need to police everyone for every comment that isn’t up to the latest PC code! If it’s trully offensive, flag it, and it’ll get yanked. Otherwise, skip it and move on! Enough said?

Back to the original poster:

I say go for it! Design is probably one of the most entertaining and challenging fields out there. I haven’t seen any women with talent be anything but cheered on in this profession.

No matter what your gender, ID must be your passion for you to find success in the field. The profession is slowly evolving and can be unstable, so anyone pursuing the long hard road into ID needs to be a little addicted to find satisfaction.

Female designers will always be valued for a wide variety of reasons, but only if they are talented and motivated. You will have to withstand the same tough atmosphere, criticism, and difficult coworkers/clients that the men also deal with. Which honestly isn’t that unique to ID…except for the open criticism, which is less common in other fields.

If you’re a woman who’s comfortable and confident, you’ll have the chance to enjoy the many aspects of ID that are truly fun and unique. And you can earn much respect, responsibility, and satisfaction if you prove your worth! Good luck.

As a woman who has been in the field for a few years, I agree that if you have the talent, motivation and comfort with yourself, you will succeed. That means being able to take criticism, laugh at yourself, and throw the jokes just as often as the next guy.

The one aspect I wish I had more of was female role models. I work in a small, predominantly male company and have struggled with differences in basic problem solving approaches. I think we all agree that women and men think, process and respond differently to a same problem. Which is great to have on a team, because it means the solution will be that much more complex. Where it does hurt is on an individual level. I have struggled numerous times because i have needed more support than what my coworkers could give. And it isn’t because they don’t support you and your ideas, it is merely different. Kind of hard to put into words, but there is a difference.

But, having said that, most people, men and women, are so open to change and adaption in this industry that there is nothing that can’t be worked through. I have had nothing but success in being honest about my concerns and desires. This industry can only benefit from a gender equal environment.

I have heard nothing about struggles for women in ID. I am half way through my degree (my 2nd bachelor’s) and have noticed a disproportionate amount of men to women within the ID program at school and ID in general. It is true that in the US there are more men than women in the field. This doesn’t mean a thing when you get down to it, though.

I prefer never to consider disparity between men and women because to me, it doesn’t matter. You are either a designer or you are not. You either have a passion for what you are doing, or you don’t.

My advice: Don’t let perceptions about how things ‘might’ be in the industry discourage you from pursuing a goal or career. If you want it, just go for it!!! Trust me, this field is awesome, diverse and full of opportunities.